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A woman wearing leather armor and a bow stands on a cliff in Last Epoch.
Screenshot by Dot Esports

Best Marksman leveling build in Last Epoch

Our arrows will blot out the sun. By blowing it up.

Bows are hard to use in Last Epoch, with only the Rogue capable of doing so. Thankfully, with Last Epoch‘s Marksman Mastery, you can quickly level up from the safety of across-screen. Let’s discuss the best way to do so.

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Best leveling build for Marksman in Last Epoch

A woman with a bow fires a flurry of arrows upwards to arc down toward enemies in Last Epoch.
On your mark. Image via Eleventh Hour Games

A Marksman’s best tool for quickly and effectively clearing dungeons in Last Epoch is Detonating Arrow. While slightly less optimal for Unique-based builds, Detonating Arrow does superb area-of-effect damage while keeping your Rogue moving—something that Channeled Flurry, Multishot, and Hail of Arrows can’t always manage. We’re playing a hyper-defensive game, only standing still if an Elite is in need of killing—something the Marksman Mastery excels at.

Best leveling Marksman Passives

The recommended spread of passives for Marksman leveling up in Last Epoch, shown through the game's passive tree numbers.
Emphasis on Marksman and Falconer. Image via Eleventh Hour Games

The Rogue and Marksman prefer to stack up damage from afar, so many choices on the Passive tree focus on getting additional damage. We recommend the following Skill bumps over the course of your leveling career:

Tree NamePassive Names by Priority
RogueSwift Assassin 8, Guile 1, Evasion 1, Agility 5, Sapping Strikes 4, Lethal Cadence 1 > Focus on Marksman and Falconer until you have around 15 points remaining > Critical Precision 8, Lethal Cadence 3, Disembowl 5.
MarksmanAssassin’s Quiver 5, Draining Arrows 8, Wound Maker 4, Heightened Senses 5, Focus Fire 7, Arrow Storm 6, Covering Fire 4, Sniper’s Gambit 6, Thief’s Quiver 7, Sharpshooter 5, Barrage of Pain 5, Perfect Aim 5, Death from Afar 5, Rain of Arrows 1.
FalconerRaptor’s Wings 5.

Some of these abilities have more stacks than appropriate for active leveling of Marksman. Be sure to follow recently-unlocked Passives moreso than building to maximum stacks of earlier skills. Especially for defensive options, Marksman is slightly more tilted towards the back half of their tree—and you’re going to want them.

The Rogue tree is your first, and is filled with goodies. Agility 5 is your first key milestone, granting you a chance to get Haste whenever you hit enemies, as well as a bonus to damage based on move speed. Sapping Strikes is also very handy, as our primary source of damage is a skill which doesn’t spend Mana—16 Health, and eight Mana might not sound like much, but it stacks up. You should start by putting 20 points into Rogue and then shifting to Marksman when it’s unlocked.

Marksman has skills all over the place. We’re largely ignoring the left half of the tree, outside of the useful healing from Draining Arrows and damage from Heightened Senses. The right side holds a bunch of potent abilities—from the lifesteal of Thief’s Quiver to the massive damage of Barrage of Pain and Perfect Aim. Unsurprisingly, you will invest upwards of 73 skill points here.

Falconer is an interesting addition to the Marksman’s repertoire—almost entirely due to an upgrade to their starting move, Explosive Trap. We recommend Raptor’s Wings, as the Rogue has several ways to automatically trigger Haste, with Smokebomb being the best option for difficult encounters.

Best leveling Marksman Skills and Skill Specializations

A woman fires an electrically-charged arrow at bird warriors in Last Epoch.
Prepare for detonation. Screenshot by Dot Esports

As you level up, it’s important to take a mixture of damaging options, Mana-spenders, and ways to spam Detonating Arrows as much as possible. Thankfully, Explosive Trap is a great way to disperse additional arrows. The following Skill Specializations are recommended:

SkillSpecialization Node Name
Detonating ArrowShock Arrow 1, Navigator’s Shot 1, Mana Arrow 1, Suckerpunch Arrow 1, Beastslayer Arrow 4, Lethal Blast 2, Concentration 3, Copper Dust Arrow 2, Arrow of Delay 2, Quick Detonation 1, Weak Spot 2.
Explosive TrapAsh Compartment 1, Arrow Traps 1, Blasting Device 2, Static Mines 1, Trapas 1, Minefield 1, Trap Sprinker 3, Jelkhor’s Blueprint 4, Subtle Sabotage 2, Clustered Explosives 2, Blast Rain 1, Smoke Traps 1.
ShiftShadow Recuperation 2, Sleight of Hand 5, Swift Recovery 4, Shadowslip 1, Elusive 2, Momentum 3, Velocity 3.
Smoke BombLingering Fumes 5, Concealed in Carnage 1, Thick Smoke 1, Eroding Fumes 4, Swirling Fog 1, Generosity 1, Enfeeblement 1, Moonlight Bomb 1.
ShurikensAlacrity 3, Fan of Blades 1, Blade Shield 1, Floating Blades 3, Bladed Armor 3, Abrasive Arsenal 4, Ethereal Blades 4, Jagged Edges 1.

We recommend Puncture as your ranged option until you get the Skill Points to get the Mana Arrow Detonating Arrow Upgrade, which can be quite early if you want it to be. This upgrade makes Detonating Arrows basic attacks, but reduces the chance to cause an explosion. This makes it an excellent ranged attack and our primary source of damage. Otherwise, Puncture functions fine as a simple but effective piercing option for early game.

Our primary Mana spender isn’t even from the Marksman tree. It’s Explosive Trap, a quick way to blast our enemies with a number of arrows. Through the Specialization tree, these explosions happen more commonly and chain-react.

Tip: Leveling into Falconer

We recommend you start putting points into Raptor’s Wings at around level 25 to 30. Explosive Trap is a great damage option for us, and it doesn’t take much investment to do so. Getting it early delays progress into Marksman, but we don’t need any late-game abilities from the tree, so you’re not losing much with these five passive points.

And then, three slots dedicated to defense. Shift is one of the most impressive defensive options in Last Epoch, boasting quick speed and a movement speed buff tagged onto the end. However, it also lets us automatically throw some Shuriken. These are not going on our bar, funnily enough—instead, we’re hard-focusing on Blade Shield to give ourselves a near-permanent 30 percent armor.

Last, but not least, whenever you run into a big boss, throw down a Smoke Bomb and a Decoy. Smoke Bomb is a massive damage buff thanks to options like Concealed in Carnage, permanent Haste, and armor shred, while Decoy is nothing more than a distraction—but a distraction can easily save your life.

Gameplan for a leveling Marksman

A woman fires a flurry of arrows toward spiders in a dark dungeon of Last Epoch.
Don’t be afraid to use other skills and try stuff out until you can get Detonating Arrow online. Screenshot by Dot Esports

Doing dungeons with Marksman is simple, but requires a bit of concentration. Against small enemy groups, simply spam Detonating Arrow until enough explosions proc and the enemies fall over. Larger groups can take an Explosive Trap, but likely not more. You can lay Explosive Traps behind you for enemies to walk on as you explore the dungeon, but remember you’re likely only going to be able to place two to three—depending on your Specializations and level.

For elites and bosses, mobility is key. Try to use Shift often to keep up buffs. Focus on landing Detonating Arrow shots and laying traps on key positions for the foes. Smoke Bomb and Decoy should be utilized off-cooldown during difficult encounters to redirect enemy damage and soak hits automatically.

And once you finish leveling up a bit, you can start going for Unique Bows, like Flight of the First.

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Image of Jason Toro-McCue
Jason Toro-McCue
Contributing writer and member of the RPG beat. Professional writer of five years for sites and apps, including Nerds + Scoundrels and BigBrain. D&D and TTRPG fanatic, perpetual Fighter main in every game he plays.